Take to the stand

first_img Previous Article Next Article Take to the standOn 1 Sep 2001 in Personnel Today With the rise in tribunal hearings, OH expertise is increasingly being calledinto the legal arena. But what lessons can the profession learn from recentdocumented cases?  By Linda Goldman andJoan Lewis Employment tribunals and civil courts are awarding very high levels ofcompensation in cases involving personal injury suffered in the workplace. Theinjury may be psychological, physical or a combination of both. Occupational health staff are involved in assessing capability for work atall stages of the employment process, taking into account any changingcircumstances. Changes in conditions may be personal – for example, illness orpregnancy – or they may relate to changes in the job itself. Many cases oflong-term absence from work require occupational health input to determinefitness for return to work or suitability for early retirement on healthgrounds. The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 affects the treatment of employeeswhose health causes absence from work, since employers are required to makereasonable adjustments to allow a disabled person to remain in the workplace. This wide range of matters involving occupational health brings themincreasingly into the courts and tribunals where their opinions on the healthof an employee are critical. Expert approach An expert witness is one who is independent of either party involved inlitigation. The duty of the expert is to the court and their opinion is inrelation to the specific area of their expertise called upon in evidence whichmust not appear to usurp that of the judge. An occupational professional must therefore have very clear and objectivestandards when reporting in-house on the health of an employee, lest aninference be drawn that the professional opinion is partisan. An expert report should not only contain the credentials and expertise ofthe witness but also a sentence to the effect that the witness understands thattheir duty is to the court. Those who instruct the witness to prepare a reportshould not put any constraint on how the report is written – a “warts andall” professional and objective approach is the only one which the expertcan and should offer. Even if the occupational health professional is notinvolved in the litigation process, impartiality is the order of the day in thepreparation of any report. The question of fitness to work is one frequently considered by the courts.In Gogay v Herts County Council, the Court of Appeal considered the effect onan employee’s health of suspension during employment in a case in which medicalopinion was pivotal. More recently, occupational health opinion came under scrutiny in Farnsworthv London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham because the council chose to relyonly on its doctor’s report of a disabled job applicant’s health records as tofitness to work, when the records themselves showed that she was likely to havea good attendance at work. In that case, the Employment Appeal Tribunal held that the applicant’sconsent to release her health records was to the council and that the doctorwas not bound by confidentiality. Therefore, the doctor could have given moreinformation to the council on which they could base their decision as towhether to employ the applicant. This case appears to question the necessity for confidentiality inconsidering health records. More clearly, the case underlines the view oftribunals that employment decisions are the responsibility of management andcannot be delegated to medical experts. Fair and objective decisions arerequired of employers based on various factors including medical opinion, whereappropriate. Medical evidence was questioned in Abadeh v British Telecommunications,2001, IRLR 23. The EAT held that the tribunal was “over influenced”by BT’s regional medical officer’s opinion so that it adopted her assessmentthat Abadeh’s impairment of tinnitus did not have a substantial effect on hisday-to-day activities. The doctor was entitled to her opinion on the diagnosisof the condition and to report on observations of his condition but thereafterit was a judicial function to determine whether Abadeh was disabled within themeaning of the Disability Discrimination Act. Duty of care Before making health a criteria for employment, employers might consider theabsence levels they tolerate in the existing workforce before making employmentoffers dependent on a satisfactory health assessment. Where such an assessmentis deemed necessary, the candidate should be informed as to how the medicalassessment will take place – by questionnaire, for example, or medical or acombination of the two. In light of the Farnsworth case, the applicant will need to give writtenconsent to the medical being carried out and to whom the content of the reportand material on which it is based may be disclosed. Apart from rights under the Data Protection Act 1998, if the candidate isdissatisfied with a report or recommendation, they may consider litigationdirectly against the occupational health professional who prepared it. It maybe of some comfort, considering the difficulties that doctors have been havingin the cases quoted, that recent case law indicates that the occupationalphysician carrying out a medical examination or tests is doing so for thebenefit of the prospective employer and therefore no duty of care is owed tothe subject of the medical. In Kapfunde v Abbey National and Daniel it was confirmed that for a duty ofcare to arise there has to be a doctor-patient relationship. It is best,therefore, to stick to the professional remit of occupational health andprepare all reports as an expert witness in case that is what occupationalhealth professionals are required to be. A quick glance at what is going on in important employment cases can beobtained from the EAT’s website (www.employmentappeals.gov.uk). A diligentsearch will show where medical evidence has been a feature Linda Goldman is a barrister at 7 New Square, Lincoln’s Inn. She is headof training and education for ACT Associates & Virtual Personnel. JoanLewis is a senior consultant and director of Advisory, Consulting &Training Associates and Virtual Personnel, employment law and advisory serviceconsultancies Case roundupKapfunde v Abbey National andDaniel, 1998, IRLR, 583 CAThe employment medical does not create a patient-doctorrelationship. The doctor should, in effect, be a stranger to the job candidate.In this case the doctor assessed a questionnaire which showed that thecandidate suffered from a chronic debilitating disease. The doctor reportedthat this would result in poor attendance at work during acute exacerbations ofthe disease. There could be a change in the non-therapeutic relationship if thedoctor spots a life-threatening condition and either reports it to the examinee(creating the relationship) or fails to report it when ethical considerationsmight arise. Arguably, the problem could be addressed by writing a confidentialletter to the examinee’s GP.  Lesson Contact professional indemnity insurers to agreea form of wording.     www.facoccmed.ac.ukGogay v Herts County Council, 2000, IRLR 703The council took steps to suspend a social worker, who wasworking under a lot of pressure, to investigate possible impropriety. Thesocial worker was exonerated but complained that the suspension amounted to abreach of her contract and was so stressful as to cause her psychiatric injury.She was successful in her claim for compensation, in which medical evidence wascalled to show the effect of the suspension on her. Lesson Include risk assessments on suspension criteriain high-stress cases.Farnsworth v London Borough ofHammersmith and Fulham, 2000, IRLR 691F consented to the disclosure of her medical records to thecouncil. The occupational physician assessed her as unsuitable for the job forwhich she had applied on the basis of her past medical records. In fact, hermedical condition had improved in recent years and she had not taken time offfrom the voluntary post which she had held for some time prior to applying tothe council. The EAT ruled that the employer’s knowledge of the employee’s disabilitywas irrelevant to whether it treated the employee less favourably for a reasonrelated to her disability. Knowledge or lack of knowledge of an applicant’sdisability is not a necessary ingredient for the purposes of the test ofjustification. The employer’s habit of not making further enquiries of itsoccupational health physician as to the medical history of a candidate were notjustified by misplaced reliance on a duty of confidence when the candidate hadwaived the right to confidentiality. Lesson Be cautious of making job offers beforecompletion of medical assessments.F v London Borough of Camden,2001, IRLR 186The tribunal found that the employer did not discriminateagainst F when they dismissed her as being incapable on the grounds of her disabilityto carry out any job for them. The EAT said that was the wrong approach. Thetribunal failed to consider the extent to which, if at all, certain adjustmentsproposed by F could have overcome the symptoms which were preventing her fromattending work. The case was sent back to another tribunal to consider whetherthere were reasonable adjustments which could be made under section 6 of theDisability Discrimination Act 1995. F had had a series of accidents andillness. The council took advice from a doctor who could not give a realisticdate for her return to work. The medical report only covered one aspect ofchange to her job by saying that, “even if the requirement to do homevisits was removed from her job description” he would be unable to give anopinion on a date for her return to work. The EAT asked “why F wasincapable of carrying out any job at the council for medical reasons?” TheEAT said that the answer could have been that, in consulting with itsoccupational nurse, it did not discuss the extent to which any adjustmentscould help to get F back to work apart from the one item of home visits. Lesson Consider the traditional elements of diagnosisand prognosis in the context of reasonable adjustment recommendations orcomments. 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First of Three Frigates Built for Indian Navy Successfully Passes Last Trials

first_img Share this article View post tag: last View post tag: first View post tag: Frigates Industry news First of three frigates built for Indian Navy has successfully passed the last trials before delivery, reported RIA Novosti on Dec 7 referring to Sergei Mikhailov, press secretary of JSC Yantar Shipyard (Kaliningrad, Russia).“Project 11356 frigate INS Teg has almost completed closing stage of trials. What comes next is acceptance process of the first of three frigates built for Indian Navy”, Mikhailov said.According to him, the ship has to be handed over to India in Apr 2012.The $1.6-bln contract for construction of the second 3-ship batch for Indian Navy was signed on July 14, 2007 in Delhi. Under contract tied in 1997, frigates INS Tabar, INS Trishul, and INS Talwar were built and handed over to Indian Navy.Technically, frigates currently built at Yantar will have minor differences with their predecessors operated by Indian Navy. The changes are related to arms and shipborne equipment. In particular, they will be armed with supersonic cruise missiles BrahMos with flight range up to 300 km.According to RIA Novosti referred to a source in Baltic Fleet, frigate INS Teg and Russian Black Sea Fleet (BSF) submarine Alrosa held a joint exercise this week. The sub launched a torpedo, and the frigate’s crew detected it and sidestepped.Alrosa is a Project 877 diesel electric submarine. Displacement is 2,325/3,076 tons; length is 76.2 meters; beam is 9.9 meters; draft is 6.2 meters; speed (surface/submerged) is 10/17 knots; operating range is 400 miles under water and 6,000 miles with snorkel; test depth is 300 meters; operating depth is 240 meters; crew is 53 including 14 officers. Subs of this project are armed with six 533-mm torpedo tubes (combat load 12 torpedoes) and Igla self-defense antiaircraft missile system.[mappress]Naval Today Staff, December 09, 2011; Image: pacificsentinel View post tag: trials View post tag: Indian View post tag: successfully View post tag: builtcenter_img December 9, 2011 Back to overview,Home naval-today First of Three Frigates Built for Indian Navy Successfully Passes Last Trials View post tag: News by topic View post tag: passes View post tag: Naval First of Three Frigates Built for Indian Navy Successfully Passes Last Trials View post tag: three View post tag: Navylast_img read more

Notre Dame’s Barrett Smart Money For SCOTUS Pick?

first_imgFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailShare Dave Stafford for www.theindianalawyer.com7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge and Notre Dame law professor Amy Coney Barrett is the odds-on favorite to be President Donald Trump’s nominee to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court.So says an offshore gambling website that has installed Barrett as the leading choice among a field of more than two dozen candidates. BetDSI Sportsbook’s proposition on Trump’s SCOTUS pick gives Barrett odds of +250, meaning a $10 wager would pay $25 if she is the nominee.Barrett, a Trump appointee to the 7th Circuit who joined the appellate bench in November, is viewed as having many of the qualities Trump is seeking in a justice, particularly her age. Trump has said he wants to appoint a justice who is smart, young and tough who will serve for decades. Many believe Barrett, 46, is likely to be his choice.“The stars are aligning for her,” Faegre Baker Daniels partner and federal court practitioner Brian Paul told Indiana Lawyer last week after Kennedy announced his retirement.The 20-year-old Costa Rica-based BetDSI site runs numerous wagering propositions on questions of public concern, and its SCOTUS odds reflect the conventional wisdom of who Trump is considering as his nominee. The second choice to Barrett is D.C. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh at +350, followed by Third Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Thomas Hardiman at +500. Also among the favorites are two judges from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals — Raymond Kethledge, +800, and Amul Thapar, who also is a former aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, at +1,000.Notre Dame’s Barrett smart money for SCOTUS pick?Judge Diane Sykes, from Barrett’s 7th Circuit, also is on the President’s list of potential nominees. She was seen as a potential Supreme Court nominee when George W. Bush was in the White House. The Wisconsin native was apparently among the four candidates that Trump interviewed in January 2017 for Antonin Scalia’s seat, according to CNN, but her star is now not as bright, according to BetDSI. Her odds of her being the next nominee are +3,000.But gamblers looking beyond the prominently mentioned SCOTUS candidates have several choices in the pool. A $10 wager on Attorney General Jeff Sessions, for instance, would pay $1,000 if he were chosen. If that’s not rich enough, TV judges Joe Brown and Judge Judy would return $2,500. If you think Trump might keep the SCOTUS pick in the family, a $10 wager on daughter Ivanka Trump would be worth $25,000, or $50,000 if he picks Donald Trump Jr. Richer still, your $10 bet on Kanye West to be nominated to the Supreme Court could be worth $100,000.last_img read more

Real Bread champion nominated for award

first_imgA Scottish baker has been nominated for a BBC Food and Farming Award for his commitment to producing real bread.Former BBC producer Andrew Whitley, who runs Bread Matters bakery in Peeblesshire, has been put forward as one of three finalists for the Derek Cooper Award. It recognises individuals or organisations doing the most to bring about real change in our relationship with food.Whitley set up the Real Bread Campaign, which aims to champion handmade bread, using only the necessary ingredients. French chef and baker Richard Bertinet is one of several ambassadors for the campaign and won the BBC Food Champion of the Year Award in 2010.Whitley said: “It’s great when you think about the bread sector that we’re a very small community, but have been featured two years in a row so prominently in these awards. We are taking a new approach to bread and now is the time to put the old ways to bed.“The Real Bread Campaign grew from the need to know how bread is made. We should be encouraging people to challenge bakers and come clean about what is going into their bread – if it includes any enzymes or additives and how it is being made.”Whitley also runs training and bakery classes at his West Linton-based bakery, including a course on Baking for the Community, which looks at the whole picture from making bread, turning it into a successful business and how a bakery can support the whole community. “Bakers are the glue of the community; it’s a useful job to aspire to and is helping in the revival of local economies,” added Whitley. “It also provides an interaction of meeting around bread, which is important to the physical and mental good health of communities.“We should be encouraging young people and teaching them the craft by hand. It gives them that sense of skill and self-worth, but we cannot do that without positioning our bakeries as something truly admirable.”Whitley is up against food charity FareShare, which aims to address issues with hunger and food waste, alongside The Food for Life Partnership, a network of schools and communities across England committed to transforming food culture.Winners will be announced at the BBC Good Food Show in Birmingham on 23 November.last_img read more

Decision: Approval of home use for the second stage of early medical abortion

first_imgThe Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has approved the home of a pregnant woman in England who is undergoing treatment for termination of pregnancy as a class of place where the second stage of treatment for early medical abortion may be carried out. This must be carried out in line with the criteria set out in the attached document.The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has published the following guidance: Clinical guidelines for early medical abortion at home – England: guidance for healthcare professionals in England who provide care for women considering early medical abortion at home up to and including 9 weeks 6 days gestation when the first medication is administered Information about abortion care: advice for women who are considering having an abortionlast_img read more

Harvard honors MLK

first_imgA celebration of the life and mission of Martin Luther King Jr. will be held on Monday (Feb. 7), from 7 to 8 p.m., in the Memorial Church in Harvard Yard. In connection with Harvard Interfaith Awareness Week, Feb. 7-11, members of the Harvard College Interfaith Council will be reading selections from King’s speeches.The Rev. Gregory Boyle, executive director of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, will deliver the keynote address. The title of his address is “Social Transformation Through Compassion.”The Kuumba Singers will perform during the service. A reception, sponsored by the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations, will be held immediately following the service in the Buttrick Room in the basement of the Memorial Church.last_img

Cattaraugus County Reports 50th COVID-19 Case

first_imgWNY News Now / MGN Stock Image.OLEAN – The Cattaraugus County Health Department reported its 50th confirmed case of COVID-19 on Friday.Officials say the latest case is a female resident who resides in the southwest corner of the county who was in recent contact of another positive COVID-19 case.The resident was given a rapid COVID-19 test on May 6 which was negative. She later developed fever, dry cough, sore throat, and diarrhea, and was tested by the department on May 13. Her test results on May 15 indicated that she was positive for COVID-19.“The department has begun a thorough contact tracing investigation for those individuals that she has been in contact with and the places that she has visited,” explained officials. “We continue to ask our residents to hunker down, and avoid any non-essential travel, especially to areas where there is community wide spread of COVID-19 otherwise, you place your family and other Cattaraugus County residents at risk.” They reiterate that if any resident experiences fever, cough, shortness of breath or whole body aches they should contact their health care provider. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Nikki Renee Daniels Is The Book of Mormon’s Newest Nabulungi

first_img from $69.00 Broadway alum Nikki Renée Daniels is the latest to step into the role of Nabulungi in The Book of Mormon on Broadway. The Porgy and Bess star has replaced Syesha Mercado in the Tony-winning tuner at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre. Related Shows Featuring a book and score by Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Robert Lopez, The Book of Mormon follows two mismatched Mormon missionaries as they are sent to Uganda to spread their religion. Upon arrival they learn their training may not have quite prepared them for the many challenges they are about to face. The show currently stars Nic Rouleau as Elder Price, Ben Platt as Elder Cunningham, Matt Loehr as Elder McKinley and Daniel Breaker as Mafala Hatimbi. View Comments In addition to Porgy and Bess, Daniels’ previous Broadway credits include Anything Goes, Promises, Promises, Les Miserables, Lestat, The Look of Love, Nine and Aida. The Book of Mormonlast_img read more

Radon Posters

first_imgGov. Nathan Deal recognized three students from northeast Georgia for their efforts to spread the word about the dangers of radon as part of the 2019 University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Radon Education Program Poster Contest.The contest, conducted by UGA Extension Radon Education Program, invites students from across the state to create posters highlighting the dangers of radon, an odorless, colorless, flavorless radioactive gas present in some Georgia soils.All three of this year’s finalists met with Deal on Jan. 7 to present their posters and thank him for his proclamation recognizing January as National Radon Action Month. Winners will be announced Jan. 24.Almost 200 posters were submitted in the state-level competition, with three selected to enter the National Radon Poster Contest, sponsored by the Conference of Radiation Control Program and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.Emma Starnes, a fourth-grade student at David C. Barrow Elementary School in Athens, Georgia, placed with her poster featuring an anthropomorphized radon cloud explaining how he can seep in through cracks in basement walls.Olivia Hawkins, a seventh-grade student at Malcolm Bridge Middle School in Oconee County, placed with her poster featuring a pair of lungs damaged by radon gas.Blake Bernt, a fifth-grade student at David C. Barrow Elementary School in Athens, Georgia, placed with her poster of a detailed house illustrating all the places radon can seep into a home.Radon is a naturally occurring gas that can seep through home foundations and into homes, making the air unsafe for residents. Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. In Georgia, homes in the northern counties are more likely to have high levels of radon, but all homes are susceptible.Radon can be extracted from homes, but only if families know that they need remediation services. Radon testing is not a part of basic home inspections that home buyers order when purchasing a home, but simple home radon tests are available from UGA Extension. To get a test kit, contact your local UGA Extension office or visit www.UGAradon.org.The UGA Extension Radon Education Program celebrates student artwork while educating Georgians about the program through each January’s contest in honor of National Radon Action Month. Nine- to 14-year-olds across the state can design a poster to help alert the general public about the dangers of radon and how they can keep their families safe.The posters can focus one of five themes:What is radon?Where does radon come from?How does radon get into our homes?Radon can cause lung cancer.Test your home for radon.The deadline for entries is usually in September. Teachers and parents can learn more about the contest at www.UGAradon.org.last_img read more

Easton Outfitters Empowers Adventurers with New Tents for Summer

first_imgBased in Salt Lake City, Utah, Easton Outfitters (part of Easton Outdoor division) just introduced its new tent lineup for summer 2014.Since 1922, Easton, a leader in precision-built outdoor equipment, has been dedicated to engineering the best technical gear for the serious user. And at its core is Easton’s proprietary manufacturing of high-strength, lightweight, aluminum and carbon fiber tubing. Easton’s exclusive components enable cost savings to deliver maximum value with elite level products.Their priorities are reliability and affordability in this year’s offering, thanks to a team of engineers looking to maximize efficiency of materials without sacrificing internal space or strength of the shelter — which range from cavernous family shelters, to re-engineered ultra-lights with carbon fiber frames, to the introduction of their Syclone composite tent poles.Easton Cache 4P (MSRP $349)Easton Cache 4P (with open annex)(low-res)Perfect for campers with a long activity list and a lot of gear, the Cache™ 4P tent is a basecamp/family style tent with huge livability and tons of pockets and loops to keep organized and make life easier.  The unique pole design delivers a large footprint, excellent stability, and near vertical walls.  This unique geometry offers huge internal space.  Dual doors make access quick and easy.  The available Annex™ vestibule (sold separately) attaches to either door and offers extra storage and covered living space.Syclone composite tent poles featured in Easton Slickrock and Easton Torrent tentsEngineered from top-grade composite materials with multi-directional wound construction, Easton’s new Syclone tent pole is the most resilient tent pole ever developed.  Syclone poles are 80% more resilient to failure and bending than aluminum in wind and flex-testing.  Lab tests and in-field results reveal the amazing performance features that allow the Syclone poles to flex further than both carbon or aluminum and return to their original shape while still offering needed structural support.Easton Slickrock 2P & 3P, (Starting at $299)Easton Slickrock is a lightweight, three-season backpacking series that offers tons of living space with amazing stability and wind resistance.  The unique asymmetrical pole design enhances the internal living space and features Easton’s brand new Syclone composite pole technology.  Slickrock is the perfect combination of lightweight stability that delivers awesome features for maximum value.Easton Kinetic Carbon 3P (MSRP $499)Easton Kinetic Carbon 3PKinetic Carbon 3P delivers best-in-class space to weight ratio with an amazing one- pound per person.  Kinetic Carbon 3P represents the re-birth of the award-winning Easton Kilo 3P tent, offering a more usable internal living area and 33 percent more vestibule space.The new Kinetic Carbon 3P has more of the space you like while keeping the minimal weight and stability you love.“A lot of design and technological advancements have gone into the new line of spring and summer products,” said Rich Packer, Easton Outfitter’s National Sales Manager. “However, with our own proprietary materials and craftsmanship here at Easton, we’re able to keep prices down in order to cover a larger segment of the end-user looking to outfit them with highly technical gear without breaking the bank.”image002last_img read more